Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Devlin's Ghost

Devlin's Ghost

A ghost of a man, with a long red beard, and flowing red locks is seen riding on a white horse around the area of Devlin's Pound not far from the Overland Corner hotel.

It is thought the spirit is that of either one of two men, Patrick or Jim Devlin.

So why is the spirit of this man haunting the area?

In 1846, cattle was herded from New South Wales to Adelaide, and part of the stock droving route took in a crossing at the Murray River near Renmark. An area not far from the pound was found to be a good pace to herd the cattle, where they wouldnt wander off or need to be watched the entire night.

Due to the constant traffic of Stock drovers, a crafty young man by the name of Patrick Devlin, erected wine shanty, a small building where stock men could come and grab a few drinks and refresh themselves on the road, have some food and have a sleep. Of course the Wine shanty was illegal, attracted many unsavoury types, including prostitutes and bushrangers

It is said Mr Devlin got tired of eating fish daily and began to hunger for some prime beef, he produced a cunning plan, and began to help himself to some of the stock at the flat, herding it up into the safety of the cliffs at the pound, that would eventually be named after him.

Devlin got away with his rustling for a long time, he had began small, but got ever more confident and ever less cautious, his greed soon took him to rustling his neighbours cattle, and that proved to be his mistake.

Patrick Devlin, owner of the Wine Shanty suddenly disappeared without a trace, for a while the locals thought he'd packed up his swag and set of around the country with all the money he'd made selling illegal grog.
Chronicle (Adelaide) Thursday 17 December 1942, page 24

A few years passed and a shallow grave was found, in it was the skeleton of a man with a bullet hole in his skull, and a matted red beard across his face – its finder knew straight away they had found the body of Patrick Devlin. Legends began to spring up straight away about his death, some suggest he was killed for the treasure of a few sovereigns hidden under the wine shanty floor, others say he was killed by a local stock drover who caught him red-handed, then there were rumours it was the local constable, that he had confronted Devlin, and a gun fight had erupted – whatever the cause, Devlin was dead.

Not long after his body was found, Devlin was seen again, on a dark stormy night in a flash of lightening, a man on white horse was seen on the ridge of the pound, his long red hair and red beard flowing in the strong wind.

He was seen many nights when the weather was bad, and all who saw him knew it was Patrick Devlin, returned from the dead, seeking vengeance for his death from whomever's gun had dealt the fatal blow.

To this day there is supposed to be a buried saddle bag somewhere in the pound that was put there by a Bushranger who never returned to claim it


He’d travelled from auld Ireland’s shores no one knew when or why,
and wandered through Australia’s lands, beneath the southern sky.
But finally he settled down, and with grog he did some peddling,
And thus began the legend of the man called ‘Paddy Devlin’.

His shanty, made from river gums, was on the stock route track,
and cattleman would stop for grog and rest their aching back.
The cattle too, would quench their thirst down at the Mighty Murray
for drovers back in those old days were never in a hurray.

They brought their herds from NSW, headed for Adelaide town,
And the word soon spread that Devlin’s shack, was the place to bed them down.
But ‘Paddy’, sick of eating fish, hungered for some beef,
And soon one dark and moonless night he turned into a thief.

It started with a single beast, that from the herd did stray,
But soon it grew to several head that vanished every day.
The drovers searched along the track, but never one was found,
For they were hid below the cliff, all safe in ‘Devlin’s Pound’.

But Devlin made one big mistake, he preyed upon his neighbour,
A thing that simply was not done, in this land they call Australia.
He disappeared from the scene and nothing more was heard,
Some said he’d simply packed his swag and flown off like a bird.

The years passed by and then one day a shallow grave was found,
The bones and skull, with a bullet hole, were just below the ground.
A long red beard was proof enough that this was ‘Paddy Devlin’,
And that he’d met his just deserts because of his foolish meddling.

Soon tales were told of ghostly deeds along the old cliff top,
And drovers would avoid the place, no longer would they stop.
For it was said that ‘Devlin’s Ghost’ astride a now white steed,
Would still be driving cattle off to satisfy his greed.

So if by chance you pass that way on a lonely moonless night,
Maybe you’ll be rewarded by this chilling fearful sight.
Be not dismayed, just pour a glass and raise it in a toast,
Then you may brag in every bar, that you drank with Devlin’s Ghost.

– Author: John Gordon.

© 2013 Allen Tiller


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